You are on page 1of 28

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
A.M. No. 12-8-8-SC
JUDICIAL AFFIDAVIT RULE
Whereas, case congestion and delays plague most courts in cities, given the huge volume of
cases filed each year and the slow and cumbersome adversarial syste1n that the judiciary has in
place;
Whereas, about 40% of criminal cases are dismissed annually owing to the fact that complainants
simply give up con1ing to court after repeated postponements;
Whereas, few foreign businessmen make long-term investments in the Philippines because its
courts are unable to provide ample and speedy protection to their investments, keeping its people
poor;
Whereas, in order to reduce the time needed for completing the testimonies of witnesses in cases
under litigation, on February 21, 2012 the Supreme Court approved for piloting by trial courts in
Quezon City the compulsory use of judicial affidavits in place of the direct testimonies of
witnesses;
Whereas, it is reported that such piloting has quickly resulted in reducing by about two-thirds the
time used for presenting the testimonies of witnesses, thus speeding up the hearing and
adjudication of cases;
Whereas, the Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, headed by Senior
Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, and the Sub-Committee on the Revision of the Rules on
Civil Procedure, headed by Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad, have recommended for adoption
a Judicial Affidavit Rule that will replicate nationwide the success of the Quezon City experience
in the use of judicial affidavits; and
Whereas, the Supreme Court En Banc finds merit in the recommendation;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Supreme Court En Banc hereby issues and promulgates the
following:
Section 1. Scope. - (a) This Rule shall apply to all actions, proceedings, and incidents requiring
the reception of evidence before:
(1) The Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, the
Municipal Trial Courts, the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, and the Shari' a
Circuit Courts but shall not apply to small claims cases under A.M. 08-8-7-SC;
(2) The Regional Trial Courts and the Shari'a District Courts;

(3) The Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, the Court of Appeals, and the
Shari'a Appellate Courts;
(4) The investigating officers and bodies authorized by the Supreme Court to
receive evidence, including the Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP); and
(5) The special courts and quasi-judicial bodies, whose rules of procedure are
subject to disapproval of the Supreme Court, insofar as their existing rules of
procedure contravene the provisions of this Rule.1
(b) For the purpose of brevity, the above courts, quasi-judicial bodies, or investigating
officers shall be uniformly referred to here as the "court."
Section 2. Submission of Judicial Affidavits and Exhibits in lieu of direct testimonies. - (a) The
parties shall file with the court and serve on the adverse party, personally or by licensed courier
service, not later than five days before pre-trial or preliminary conference or the scheduled
hearing with respect to motions and incidents, the following:
(1) The judicial affidavits of their witnesses, which shall take the place of such
witnesses' direct testimonies; and
(2) The parties' docun1entary or object evidence, if any, which shall be attached to
the judicial affidavits and marked as Exhibits A, B, C, and so on in the case of the
complainant or the plaintiff, and as Exhibits 1, 2, 3, and so on in the case of the
respondent or the defendant.
(b) Should a party or a witness desire to keep the original document or object evidence in
his possession, he may, after the same has been identified, marked as exhibit, and
authenticated, warrant in his judicial affidavit that the copy or reproduction attached to
such affidavit is a faithful copy or reproduction of that original. In addition, the party or
witness shall bring the original document or object evidence for comparison during the
preliminary conference with the attached copy, reproduction, or pictures, failing which
the latter shall not be admitted.
This is without prejudice to the introduction of secondary evidence in place of the original when
allowed by existing rules.
Section 3. Contents of judicial Affidavit. - A judicial affidavit shall be prepared in the language
known to the witness and, if not in English or Filipino, accompanied by a translation in English
or Filipino, and shall contain the following:
(a) The name, age, residence or business address, and occupation of the witness;
(b) The name and address of the lawyer who conducts or supervises the examination of
the witness and the place where the examination is being held;

(c) A statement that the witness is answering the questions asked of him, fully conscious
that he does so under oath, and that he may face criminal liability for false testimony or
perjury;
(d) Questions asked of the witness and his corresponding answers, consecutively
numbered, that:
(1) Show the circumstances under which the witness acquired the facts upon
which he testifies;
(2) Elicit from him those facts which are relevant to the issues that the case
presents; and
(3) Identify the attached documentary and object evidence and establish their
authenticity in accordance with the Rules of Court;
(e) The signature of the witness over his printed name; and
(f) A jurat with the signature of the notary public who administers the oath or an officer
who is authorized by law to administer the same.
Section 4. Sworn attestation of the lawyer. - (a) The judicial affidavit shall contain a sworn
attestation at the end, executed by the lawyer who conducted or supervised the examination of
the witness, to the effect that:
(1) He faithfully recorded or caused to be recorded the questions he asked and the
corresponding answers that the witness gave; and
(2) Neither he nor any other person then present or assisting him coached the
witness regarding the latter's answers.
(b) A false attestation shall subject the lawyer mentioned to disciplinary action, including
disbarment.
Section 5. Subpoena. - If the government employee or official, or the requested witness, who is
neither the witness of the adverse party nor a hostile witness, unjustifiably declines to execute a
judicial affidavit or refuses without just cause to make the relevant books, documents, or other
things under his control available for copying, authentication, and eventual production in court,
the requesting party may avail himself of the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum or duces
tecum under Rule 21 of the Rules of Court. The rules governing the issuance of a subpoena to the
witness in this case shall be the same as when taking his deposition except that the taking of a
judicial affidavit shal1 be understood to be ex parte.
Section 6. Offer of and objections to testimony in judicial affidavit. - The party presenting the
judicial affidavit of his witness in place of direct testimony shall state the purpose of such
testimony at the start of the presentation of the witness. The adverse party may move to

disqualify the witness or to strike out his affidavit or any of the answers found in it on ground of
inadmissibility. The court shall promptly rule on the motion and, if granted, shall cause the
marking of any excluded answer by placing it in brackets under the initials of an authorized court
personnel, without prejudice to a tender of excluded evidence under Section 40 of Rule 132 of
the Rules of Court.
Section 7. Examination of the witness on his judicial affidavit. - The adverse party shall have the
right to cross-examine the witness on his judicial affidavit and on the exhibits attached to the
same. The party who presents the witness may also examine him as on re-direct. In every case,
the court shall take active part in examining the witness to determine his credibility as well as the
truth of his testimony and to elicit the answers that it needs for resolving the issues.
Section 8. Oral offer of and objections to exhibits. - (a) Upon the termination of the testimony of
his last witness, a party shall immediately make an oral offer of evidence of his documentary or
object exhibits, piece by piece, in their chronological order, stating the purpose or purposes for
which he offers the particular exhibit.
(b) After each piece of exhibit is offered, the adverse party shall state the legal ground for
his objection, if any, to its admission, and the court shall immediately make its ruling
respecting that exhibit.
(c) Since the documentary or object exhibits form part of the judicial affidavits that
describe and authenticate them, it is sufficient that such exhibits are simply cited by their
markings during the offers, the objections, and the rulings, dispensing with the
description of each exhibit.
Section 9. Application of rule to criminal actions. - (a) This rule shall apply to all criminal
actions:
(1) Where the maximum of the imposable penalty does not exceed six years;
(2) Where the accused agrees to the use of judicial affidavits, irrespective of the
penalty involved; or
(3) With respect to the civil aspect of the actions, whatever the penalties involved
are.
(b) The prosecution shall submit the judicial affidavits of its witnesses not later than five
days before the pre-trial, serving copies if the same upon the accused. The complainant or
public prosecutor shall attach to the affidavits such documentary or object evidence as he
may have, marking them as Exhibits A, B, C, and so on. No further judicial affidavit,
documentary, or object evidence shall be admitted at the trial.
(c) If the accused desires to be heard on his defense after receipt of the judicial affidavits
of the prosecution, he shall have the option to submit his judicial affidavit as well as those
of his witnesses to the court within ten days from receipt of such affidavits and serve a

copy of each on the public and private prosecutor, including his documentary and object
evidence previously marked as Exhibits 1, 2, 3, and so on. These affidavits shall serve as
direct testimonies of the accused and his witnesses when they appear before the court to
testify.
Section 10. Effect of non-compliance with the judicial Affidavit Rule. - (a) A party who fails to
submit the required judicial affidavits and exhibits on time shall be deemed to have waived their
submission. The court may, however, allow only once the late submission of the same provided,
the delay is for a valid reason, would not unduly prejudice the opposing party, and the defaulting
party pays a fine of not less than P 1,000.00 nor more than P 5,000.00 at the discretion of the
court.
(b) The court shall not consider the affidavit of any witness who fails to appear at the
scheduled hearing of the case as required. Counsel who fails to appear without valid
cause despite notice shall be deemed to have waived his client's right to confront by
cross-examination the witnesses there present.
(c) The court shall not admit as evidence judicial affidavits that do not conform to the
content requirements of Section 3 and the attestation requirement of Section 4 above. The
court may, however, allow only once the subsequent submission of the compliant
replacement affidavits before the hearing or trial provided the delay is for a valid reason
and would not unduly prejudice the opposing party and provided further, that public or
private counsel responsible for their preparation and submission pays a fine of not less
than P 1,000.00 nor more than P 5,000.00, at the discretion of the court.
Section 11. Repeal or modification of inconsistent rules. - The provisions of the Rules of Court
and the rules of procedure governing investigating officers and bodies authorized by the Supreme
Court to receive evidence are repealed or modified insofar as these are inconsistent with the
provisions of this Rule.1wphi1
The rules of procedure governing quasi-judicial bodies inconsistent herewith are hereby
disapproved.
Section 12. Effectivity. - This rule shall take effect on January 1, 2013 following its publication
in two newspapers of general circulation not later than September 15, 2012. It shall also apply to
existing cases.
Manila, September 4, 2012.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE
CASTRO
Associate Justice

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

DISODADO M. PERLATA
Associate Justice

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice

ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.


Associate Justice

JOSE P. PEREZ
Associate Justice

JOSE C. MENDOZA
Associate Justice

BIENVENIDO L. REYES
Associate Justice

ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
Associate Justice

HISTORY
Editorial

A new court rule


Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:05 am | Thursday, September 6th, 2012


Public attention on the Supreme Court in the last several days has necessarily focused on the
politics of the appointment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Serenothe suddenness of the
announcement, the surprise of a truly deep selection, the seeming snub she seems to have
suffered from the senior justices she had bypassed, her supposed debt of gratitude to President
Aquino (and, by extension, the Cojuangco side of his family), even (most recently) her
unsolicited references to the Almighty. Everyone loves to follow a winnerperhaps especially
when drama and intrigue surround the winning.
But news out of the Supreme Court on Tuesday shifts the focus back to its real work: the
adjudication of cases and, above that, the ever-more-effective pursuit of justice.
Voting unanimously, the justices approved the so-called judicial affidavit rule, a procedural
reform which will take effect next year and which is intended to speed up trial proceedings by
effectively foregoing the oral direct testimony of witnesses. As Christine Avendaos report in
yesterdays issue noted: This means that the witnesses will be subjected to cross examination
immediately and [will] cut short by 50 percent the presentation of witnesses, according to
Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva, who was designated the courts new
communicator for judicial reform.
The concept was pilot-tested at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court beginning in April; that is,
when Renato Corona was still chief justice. It was recommended for approval by the man
commonly perceived as Coronas chief rival in the high court, Senior Associate Justice Antonio
Carpio, and by Associate Justice Roberto Abad, both candidates for the position Sereno now
holds. It is a credit to everyone in the high court, then, that the new rule appears to have been
approved on the basis of the results of the test program and a general commitment to judicial
reform, rather than on previous or frayed loyalties.
From the looks of it, the new rule allows courts across the country to jump-start trials, so to
speak, by accepting the affidavits (written according to certain safeguards) in lieu of direct
testimony. At the same time, the rule adheres to a hard-earned culture of civil liberties: It is
limited to the civil aspects of a criminal case, to criminal cases where the maximum penalty does
not exceed six years, and to graver cases (murder, for instance) only if the defendant agrees.
We will be interested to know the results of the program tested at the Quezon City RTC, one of
the countrys busiest, and what the affected accused have to say about the new rule. It appears to

be a sensible reform, but we must be alert to possible, perhaps unsuspected, vulnerabilities in the
new procedure: Since it privileges the act of writing (the affidavit), will indigent or uneducated
defendants find themselves at an additional disadvantage? We can imagine cases where a slick
lawyer utilizes the cross-examination to contrast an ill-educated witness answers with the
perhaps imprecise language he used in his affidavit. If there is a corresponding move to allow
affidavits written (or taken) in any language into the record, perhaps this will help mitigate the
bias against the in- or less, articulate.
But we trust that the high court, and the countrys judges, will institute or follow safeguards to
make the new rule a genuine advance in the pursuit of justice.
Many more, much more major, reforms lie in wait; indeed, the mandate of any post-Corona
Supreme Court was always to embrace the cause of judicial reform itself: to depoliticize the
judiciary, to reverse the high courts reputation in the last years of the presidency of Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo as a cozy legal club with its own set of rules, to become more transparent in
its transactions (without losing the necessary and enabling mystique essential to the crafting of
truly independent decisions), to hold itself, the one nonpolitical branch of government, more
accountable to the people it represents but who cannot vote for it. Not least, to be effective in the
pursuit of justice.
The new rule of court, by providing for speedier trials, promises to do just that.
- See more at: http://opinion.inquirer.net/36154/a-new-court-rule#sthash.UgTFeQJV.dpuf

Judicial affidavit rule and the public prosecutors

The Supreme Court En Banc, acting on the petition dated December 12, 2012 from the Prosecutors League of the
Philippines (PLP) for the deferment of the effectivity of the Judicial Affidavit Rule for at least a year in criminal cases,
resolved instead to modify the public prosecutors compliance therewith from January 1 to December 31, 2013, as
follows:
For the purpose of complying with the Judicial Affidavit Rule, public prosecutors in the first- and second-level courts
shall use the sworn statements that the complainant and his or her witnesses submit during the initiation of the
criminal action before the office of the public prosecutor or directly before the trial court. Upon presenting the
witness, the attending public prosecutor shall require the witness to affirm what the sworn statement contains and
may only ask the witness additional direct examination questions that have not been amply covered by the sworn
statement.
The Court also clarified in its three-page unsigned resolution that the modified compliance does not apply to criminal
cases where the complainant is represented by a duly empowered private prosecutor. The private prosecutor shall be
charged in the applicable cases the duty to prepare the required judicial affidavits of the complainant and his or her
witnesses and cause the service of the copies of the same upon the accused.
The Court acknowledged that 80% of the backlog in the first-and second-level courts involve criminal cases, and that
delays in those cases are caused mainly by lack of prosecutors, absence of prosecution witnesses, and lack of PAO
lawyers. It thus expressed its expectation that public prosecutors will use the one-year modified compliance period to
take the necessary steps to seek the needed augmentation of their ranks and develop methods and systems that would
enable them to fully comply with the requirements of the Judicial Affidavit Rule when the modified compliance
period ends. The Court also stated that the Rule shall remain in full force and effect in all other cases and situations
not covered by the resolution. (Unsigned Res., AM No 12-8-8-SC, Judicial Affidavit Rule, January 8, 2012)

Philippine Supreme Court Adopts JudicialAffidavit Rule to Decrease Trial Time


September 2012
On September 5, the Supreme Court of the Philippines unanimously adopted a new procedural
rule that mandates the use of judicial affidavits for direct witness testimony in most cases in firstand second-level courts and quasi-judicial bodies nationwide. The rule, which is the first major
judicial reform under new Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, will drastically cut trial times.
The rule grew out of a pilot project that has been testing innovative court rules in Quezon City
courts since April. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), funded by the United States
Agency for International Development (USAID), helped conduct the pilot project, which
identified key litigation procedures that can be amended to reduce trial times in a country where
cases take an average of six years to resolve.
Under the new rule, instead of conducting direct testimony in court, attorneys will submit
affidavits with questions and answers that witnesses have supplied while under oath. To give
opposing counsel sufficient review time, the affidavits must be submitted at least five days prior
to a preliminary conference in a case or the hearing of motions. In trial, attorneys cross-examine
witnesses based on the already submitted affidavits. Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva
said that the rule will cut the presentation of witnesses, which accounts for much of a trials
length, by 50 percent.
The judicial-affidavit rule is part of the Philippine judiciarys larger campaign to reduce trial
times and increase judicial efficiency and access to justice. Other reforms, such as limiting the
number of pages in briefs and the number of continuances lawyers can request, are still being
tested in Quezon City, with ongoing support from ABA ROLI and USAID. ABA ROLI has
worked closely with the Philippine Supreme Court and other stakeholders to craft and implement
pilot rules, and to develop a system for monitoring and evaluating their effectiveness. ABA ROLI
solicits inputs from judges, lawyers and court personnel to ensure that the resulting rules address
stakeholder-identified problems. ABA ROLI has also trained affected personnel to support the
successful implementation of the rules.
- See more at:
http://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/rule_of_law/where_we_work/asia/philippines/news/news
_philippines_supreme_court_adopts_judicial_affidavit_rule_0912.html#sthash.AkF8HmQn.dpuf

SC OKs rules on 'judicial affidavits' to speed up cases | News | GMA News


Online | The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere
SC OKs rules on 'judicial affidavits' to speed up cases | News | GMA News Online |
The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere
The Supreme Court on Tuesday approved the guidelines on using "judicial affidavits" in an effort to
speed up the resolution of cases by cutting down in half the period in presenting evidence.
At a media briefing, Supreme Court Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva said the use of
judicial affidavits would be pilot-tested at the Quezon City regional trial court.
Villanueva is the vice chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Proposed Practice Guidelines for
Quezon City Trial Courts and was recently designated as Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's
"communicator on judicial reforms."
Villanueva said the Judicial Affidavit Rule will be published on September 15 and will take
effect January 1 next year.
Judicial affidavits are sworn statements containing the witness' tetsimony in question-and-answer
form. They are usually used in place of the traditional direct testimony to expedite the presdentation
of evidence.
The high-profile, three-year-old Maguidnanao murder trial has been using judicial affidavits for quite
some time now.
Last year, the parties have agreed that only a handful of the relatives of the 57 massacre victims
would sit on the witness stand to be direct exmained by the defense, while the rest would just
execute judicial affidavits.
Judicial affidavits are used particularly for the civil aspect of the murder case, in which families of the
slain victims who are claiming damages from the suspects would just submit judicial affidavits
instead of detailing in court their knowledge about the killings.

Supreme Court okays guidelines on judicial


affidavit rule
By Sandy Araneta (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 9, 2012 - 12:00am
0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines The Supreme Court (SC) has approved the guidelines on judicial
affidavits of witnesses aimed at speeding up the hearing and adjudication of cases by reducing
the period of presenting evidence in courts.
In a paid advertisement published in yesterdays issue of The Star, the 14 SC magistrates led by
Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno signed the Judicial Affidavit Rule contained in
Administrative Matter No. 12-8-8-SC. It will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
Under the approved rule, Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva said lawyers and
prosecutors can directly cross-examine witnesses since their affidavits will be submitted in court
before the start of the hearing.
He explained that witnesses no longer have to repeat what they stated in their written testimony,
thus shortening the period of the proceedings.
Parties are required to submit affidavits and exhibits not later than five days before the pre-trial
or scheduled hearing of a case.
Villanueva was designated as Serenos communicator on judicial reforms.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

He said the rule was adopted upon the recommendation of Senior Associate Justice Antonio
Carpio, head of the SC Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, and Associate Justice
Roberto Abad, head of the Sub-Committee on the Revision of the Rules on Civil Procedure.
- See more at: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2012/09/09/847046/supremecourt-okays-guidelines-judicial-affidavit-rule#sthash.dfGf3S3c.dpuf

UPDATES
SC clarifies Judicial Affidavit Rule not suspended

Details
Category: Nation
Published on Thursday, 03 January 2013 20:01
Written by PNA and R. Acosta
THE Supreme Court (SC) clarified on Thursday that the implementation of the
Judicial Affidavit Rule (JAR) is not suspended.
In a statement, the Courts Public Information Office (PIO) said Chief Justice Maria
Lourdes Sereno has submitted to the SC en banc for deliberation the request of the
Prosecutors League of the Philippines (PLP) to defer its implementation for a year.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno, responding to a request from the PLP for
the deferment of the implementation of the JAR for at least a year in criminal cases,
has directed that the request be included in the agenda of the Supreme Courts first
en banc session of the year on January 8, the SC PIO said in a statement.
The JAR requires submission of judicial affidavits in lieu of direct testimony of
witnesses in criminal cases.
It took effect on January 1, 2013.
In a statement, the SC, however, did not mention Circular 146 which was issued by
the Office of the Court Administrator to all justices of the Court of Appeals,
Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals, as well as judges of trial courts,
investigating officers authorized by the SC to receive evidence, including the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, arbiters of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies.
The circular said that it would be more prudent, as recommended by Associate
Justice Roberto A. Abad, to suspend its implementation pending decision of the SC
en banc.
Abad, with Associate Justices Diosdado M. Peralta and Lucas P. Bersamin, met with
members of the PLP on December 21.

After the meeting, Abad made the recommendation to suspend the implementation
of the JAR.
The new rule, approved by the SC unanimously in September 2012, provides that
when a party [whether plaintiff or defendant] questions his own witness, he no
longer needs to place the witness on the witness stand.
As a substitute, the party or his lawyer merely submits the written sworn statement
of his witness in a question-and-answer format.
It also requires each party to the case to attach all his documentary evidence to the
judicial affidavit, which, in turn, must be submitted at least five days before the
pre-trial or preliminary conference in the case.
The JAR was said to be effective in reducing the time used for presenting the
testimonies of witnesses by about two-thirds after a pilot program was conducted in
the courts in Quezon City.
However, the PLP said its members have limited time to prepare judicial affidavits
because they are saddled with heavy workload.
In its letter to Sereno, the PLP said preparation for judicial affidavits is also more
time consuming than conducting direct examination of witnesses.
It added that while it has been successful in Quezon City or would be successful in
Metro Manila areas, this is so because there are many prosecutors in the area unlike
in the provinces with too few prosecutors.
The prosecutors in the regional, provincial and city prosecution offices have limited
time to prepare judicial affidavits because they are already saddled with heavy
workloads, [sic] such as trial, including criminal and special proceedings cases;
preliminary investigation, inquest proceedings and summary investigation [direct
filing], the PLP said.
It added that the SCs successful experiment in Quezon City on the JAR cannot
apply to prosecution offices with fewer number of prosecutors.
It said: Moreover, while litigants in Quezon City usually reside within the city, those
in the regions and provinces reside in inaccessible and far flung areas.
Thus, they will spend additional expenses in going to prosecution offices to execute
their judicial affidavits.

SC modifies implementation of judicial


affidavit rule
By Tetch Torres
INQUIRER.net
8:02 pm | Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

MANILA, PhilippinesRefusing to suspend the implementation of the Judicial Affidavit Rule


(JAR), the Supreme Court has instead modified its implementation, requiring public prosecutors
in criminal cases to use, in lieu of judicial affidavit, the sworn statements executed by
complainants and their witnesses.
The new rule, which took effect last Jan. 1, requires the submission of judicial affidavits in lieu
of direct testimony of witnesses in criminal cases where the maximum imposable penalty does
not exceed six years.
In its two-page resolution, the SC requires the attending public prosecutor, when presenting the
witness, to affirm the truth of what the sworn statement contains and ask the witness only those
additional direct examination questions that have not been amply covered by the sworn
statement.
The modified compliance shall be for one year only and on Jan. 1, 2014, the JAR shall be in full
effect in criminal cases, the SC said.
The high court also said it expects the public prosecutors in both the first and second-level
courts to take steps during the one-year modified compliance period (1) to seek the needed
augmentation of their ranks; and (2) to develop methods and systems that would enable them to
fully comply with the requirements of the Judicial Affidavit Rule when the modified compliance
period ends.
The JAR covers criminal cases where the maximum imposable penalty does not exceed six
years.
- See more at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/337361/sc-modifies-implementation-ofjudicial-affidavit-rule#sthash.xtWPzvoN.dpuf

Supreme Court revises rules on judicial


affidavits
8
-

A A +A

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) modified on Tuesday some provisions in the
implementation of a new rule requiring the submission of judicial affidavits instead of direct
testimony of witnesses in criminal cases.
Among the modification to the rule in criminal cases is that public prosecutors can temporarily
use the sworn statements that the complainant and his or her witnesses submit during the
initiation of the criminal action before the office of the public prosecutor or directly before the
trial court.
In such cases, the attending public prosecutor shall, when presenting witnesses, require him or
her to affirm the truth of what the sworn statement contains and ask the witness only those
additional direct examination questions that have not been amply covered by the sworn
statement, the Court ruled.
The resolution came after the SC junked the request of the Prosecutors League of the
Philippines seeking a deferment of the application of the rules during criminal proceedings in the
lower courts.
The justices, however, allowed a one-year respite before full compliance with the provisions of
the new rules will be observed beginning January 1, 2014.
The High Court said that the one-year modified compliance shall not apply where the
complainant is represented by private prosecutor duly empowered in accordance with the Rules
of Court to appear in court and prosecute the case.
This means that private prosecutors will have to prepare the required judicial affidavits of the
complainant and his or her witnesses and cause the service of copies upon the accused.
In case of non-compliance with the rule which will be in effect for new and ongoing cases in the
lower courts, Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva said a judge may opt to disregard the
witness whose testimony did not comply with the judicial affidavit rule.

Court Administrator Midas Marquez earlier directed all courts and officials of judicial bodies not
to implement the new rule yet pending collegial action of SC magistrates.
Associate Justice Roberto Abad, together with Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Lucas
Bersamin, however met with PLP officers last December 21 and agreed to defer the
implementation of the new rule pending action of the Court on the proposed one-year
suspension.
The PLPs objection stemmed from the fact that the new rule will only take up more time since
affiants have to be subpoenaed and interviewed before the prosecutor could prepare their judicial
affidavits.
We already have limited time to prepare judicial affidavits because they are already saddled
with heavy workloads, such as trial, including criminal and special proceedings cases,
preliminary investigation, inquest proceedings and summary investigation (direct filing), PLP
stated in its letter to the SC.
Under the revised rules on judicial affidavit, the witnesses in all cases whose penalty is not
exceeding six years will no longer be subjected to give an oral direct testimony, and instead, trial
will proceed directly to cross examination by the opposing lawyer.
The new rule, which was unanimously approved by the SC last September, provides that when a
party (whether plaintiff or defendant) questions his own witness, he no longer needs to place the
witness on the witness stand.
As a substitute, the party or his lawyer merely submits the written sworn statement of his witness
in a question-and-answer format.
It also requires each party to the case to attach all documentary evidence to the judicial affidavit,
which, in turn, must be submitted at least five days before the pre-trial or preliminary
conference in the case.
The revision of the rules was upon the recommendation of Senior Associate Justice Antonio
Carpio, who chairs the SCs committee on the revision of the rules of court, and Abad, head of
the subcommittee on revision on rules of procedure.
The JAR had already been piloted in the Quezon City RTC since April 2012, but will be
implemented nationwide starting this month in all first- and second-level courts, including
appellate courts and quasi-judicial bodies.
It was said to have been effective in reducing the time used for presenting the testimonies of
witnesses by about two-thirds after the pilot program in QC courts. (JCV/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

CONTENTS
Indelible Ink: Judicial Affidavit Rule
January 26, 2013 by WDJ Leave a Comment

Starting January 1, 2013, the Judicial Affidavit Rule should have been effective and
implemented, until the association of public prosecutors had filed a petition seeking its deferment
for a year, due to difficulty in complying with the rule, and for some other reasons such as case
load and often unavailability of witnesses.
A novel rule, it is one imposed to expedite proceedings with the end in view of slowly clearing
the dockets of our courts, both the Municipal Trial Court and Regional Trial Court.
It is mandatory in the lower level courts, and in civil proceedings in the RTC. In the latter court,
in a criminal prosecution, an accused may opt not to avail himself or herself of the rule, and
forthwith proceed to trial under the regular proceedings, that is, a witness takes the witness stand,
gives a direct testimony subject to cross-examination by the other counsel de parte/de oficio, redirect and re-cross, and clarificatory questions from the court, all under the one-day, one-witness
rule.
The petition of the public prosecutors (often referred to as fiscals) had been granted. Meaning, a
one-year reprieve from the rule, or that, the affidavits in the initiatory complaint make take the
place of the judicial affidavit.
This prompted a lawyer employed by the Public Attorneys Office to ask Justice Roberto Abad, if
the deferment would apply to the PAO. Justice Abad, speaking before judges and lawyers at a
recent forum at Natures Village, in Talisay City, said well, they have not received any petition
from the PAO.
This means to say that, with the Judicial Affidavit Rule, a counsel or party intending to present a
witness must furnish the other party/counsel a copy of the judicial affidavit of said witness, five
days before the date of hearing, and complying with the required formalities.
Said formalities include the identification and marking of exhibits (pieces of evidence) whose
marking and identification would have taken most of the direct examination.
Also, under the rule, as can be gathered during the ensuing open discussion during Justice Abads
forum, the presiding judge may also conduct the cross-examination, and this time, a lawyer
cannot object on the question (of course, as the judge would be the one to rule on said

objection!), but may interpose an objection to the answer to the judges query. Whew! Quite a
novel rule, indeed.
But sure enough, the new rule on judicial affidavit will be quite a new experience for the
lawyers.
As a new one finding myself in the labyrinth of law practice, I find the new rule effective, if
followed to the letter. Although lawyers have yet to get acquainted with it, I dont know if there
could be circumventions to the rule, hope none.
And if you dont mind, I would start working on one affidavit under this new rule, and see if it
can pass the requirements of the new rule. See you on the next drop on your Indelible Ink then.
/WDJ

- Ate, nasa pdf na naka-save yung


slides na ginawa ni justice abad
tungkol sa JAR (hehe )

ADVANTAGES/DISADVANTAGES
INTRODUCTION

Justice is sweet and musical; but injustice is harsh and discordant.


-Henry David Thoreau

There is this popular legal saying by British statesman William Gladstone that
justice delayed is justice denied. The saying is short and sweet, but undeniably
true as far as the Philippine judicial system is concerned.

One of the main concerns or problems in our judicial system is the huge
number of cases being filed in the lower courts. These cases piles up year after year
up to the point that the court itself have a huge backlog of undecided cases. This
affects greatly not only the court but also the Filipino people. Many are denied
justice right from the very start of litigation. Many lose confidence and trust in the
judicial system, knowing that going to the court is tantamount to months or years
of waiting and frustration. This does not only affect our fellow Filipinos, but also
foreigners who are in the country for business or investment. Foreigners not only
have to deal with the volatile political situation in the country, but also the slow
legal processes that they usually undergo. The slow pace of our legal process most
often than not, lead foreigners to invest somewhere else, like better-off Asian
neighbors Thailand and Malaysia.

The Supreme Court recognizes the problem so to address this, they


promulgated AM No. 12-8-8-SC or the Judicial Affidavit Rule. The Judicial Affidavit
Rule is designed to solve the problems in our judicial system and have shown great
results in its initial application reducing about two-thirds of the time for the
presentation of witnesses in a proceeding. In this report, we will tackle the
advantages as well as the disadvantages of the Judicial Affidavit Rule.

ADVANTAGES OF JUDICIAL AFFIDAVIT RULE

1. The Judicial Affidavit Rule aims to decongest the courts with huge volume of
cases.

The Judicial affidavit rule was designed with a purpose, that is, to speed up
the judicial processes in our courts. As substantially provided in the rule, judicial
affidavits will replace direct examinations. The witness is immediately readied for
cross-examination as soon as the purpose of a witness testimony is announced and
questions about its admissibility are resolved. Redirect may be done by the party
who presented the witness if necessary. Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva
said that the rule will cut the presentation of witnesses, which accounts for much
of a trials length, by 50 percent.

2. The Judicial Affidavit Rule aims to speed up judicial processes in all court actions/
proceedings.

As substantially stipulated under Section 1 of the Judicial Affidavit Rule, this


rule shall apply to all actions, proceedings, and incidents requiring the reception of
evidence before the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities,
Municipal Trial Courts, Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, and the Sharia Circuit Courts,
Regional Trial Courts and the Sharia District Courts, and even the Sandiganbayan,
the Court of Tax Appeals, the Court of Appeals, and the Sharia Appellate Courts as
well as investigating bodies authorized by the Supreme Court to receive evidence
including the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

The scope of the Judicial Affidavit Rule is really aimed at considerably


speeding up the judicial processes not only at the lower level courts, but also up to
the level of the Sandiganbayan and Court of Appeals.

3. The Judicial Affidavit Rule provides for strict compliance to ensure speedy judicial
processes.
To ensure that purpose of Judicial Affidavit Rule is followed, the rule provides
for strict compliance of its provisions. If the counsels of either party fail to follow
the rule, it will have repercussions in their case. As substantially provided in Section
10 of the rule, a party who fails to submit the required judicial affidavits and
exhibits on time shall be deemed to have a waived their submission, unless the
delay was caused by a valid reason. The defaulting party shall be liable to pay a fine
of not less than P1,000 nor more than P5,000, at the discretion of the Court.

4. Allows the Judge to assess quickly whether or not to grant bail when bail is a
matter of discretion by reading through all of the submitted affidavits.

According to Section 2 of the Judicial Affidavit Rule, it is substantially


provided therein that the parties shall file with the court and the adverse party not
later than (5) five days before pre-trial or preliminary conference or the scheduled
hearing the judicial affidavits of their witnesses and the parties documentary or
object evidences attached to the judicial affidavits with proper markings.

Reading through the said provision, the Court can now decide issues swiftly
whether or not to grant bail when bail is a matter of discretion. The Court can go
through all the judicial affidavits of the parties, weigh the merits thereof, and
intelligently grant or not a grant a bail without even going to the pre-trial proper.

5. To attract foreign businessmen to make long-term investment in the Philippines


knowing that their investments are protected by a fast judicial process.

The Judicial Affidavit Rule also aims to protect foreign investors that are
caught in the slow pace of our judicial process. Foreign businessmens investments
are often turned-off to invest in our country not only because of corruption but also
because of the length of time that they are to appear before our courts concerning
their cases that would take years to resolve. According to an online article of the
American Bar Association, the said new litigation rule can reduce trial times where
cases take an average of six years to resolve. This will considerably reduce the
foot-dragging that foreign investors usually experience when they are subjected
to our court proceedings. Foreign investors will have a peace of mind that they
dont have to expect that their cases will drag on for years, and would-be foreign
investors will have a restored faith in our judicial processes.
(http://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/rule_of_law/where_we_work/asia/philippin
es/news/news_philippines_supreme_court_adopts_judicial_affidavit_rule_0912.htm
l)

6. The submitted judicial affidavit promotes greater accuracy in the recording of the
direct testimony since the court stenographer and interpreter, who may occasionally
experience some kind of a drought in English terminologies, are taken out of the
equation, at least, during this phase.

7. Also, the rule permits and compels the early taking and preservation of the
witnesses testimony, which may otherwise have a hard time remembering details
of events which took place months or years past.

DISADVANTAGES OF JUDICIAL AFFIDAVIT RULE

1. Judicial affidavits was also more time consuming than conducting direct
examination of witnesses.

The preparation of the judicial affidavit takes more time than conducting
direct examination in court because affiants have to be subpoenaed and interviewed
before the prosecutor could prepare their judicial affidavit."

While it is true that there was a positive feedback and success to the pilot
testing conducted in Quezon City Courts to determine whether or not judicial
affidavit was feasible and/or that would be successful in Metro Manila areas, this
was so because there were sufficient number of prosecutors in the area unlike in
the provinces with too few prosecutors.

"The prosecutors in the regional, provincial and city prosecution offices have
limited time to prepare judicial affidavits because they are already saddled with
heavy workloads, such as trial, including criminal and special proceedings cases;
preliminary investigation, inquest proceedings and summary investigation (direct
filing), the oppositors said. It said the SCs successful experiment in Quezon City
on the JAR cannot apply to prosecution offices with lesser number of prosecutors.
(newsinfo/INQUIRER.net, January 2013)

2. It will diminish the power of the judge to assess the credibility of witnesses.

As what has been the practice, a trial Judge will either believe or ignore the
weight of a testimony depending on the demeanor of the witness or witnesses
primarily on direct examination. With the implementation of the judicial affidavits,
this will now be downplayed.

Furthermore, the use of judicial affidavits will minimize the outburst of


emotion on the part of witnesses on stand. Hence, this may impact on the amount
of moral and exemplary damages that a private complainant may recover in a
criminal case. As noted, moral damages are awarded for the sorrow, fright and
sleepless nights suffered by complainants, while exemplary damages are those
awarded to show others, by way of example, that similar conduct will be hardly
observed, if not totally unrecognized, by our Courts.

UP Law 1990 and Judicial Affidavits

3 Votes

You have to give it to Mark Meruenas of GMA news online. Of


the ten or so reporters covering the Maguindanao massacre, only he reported that Chief Justice
Maria Lourdes Serenos latest judicial reform, the use of judicial affidavits, has been practiced in
the controversial case involving the gruesome death of 58 victims. In a meeting between
counsels that was presided by Hon. Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City, it was proposed and agreed upon by all that in lieu of direct examinations, the majority of
58 private complainants, whose testimony would be to further the civil action deemed filed with
the 57 counts of murder, would be testifying through judicial affidavits. These are affidavits in a
question-and-answer format detailing what the lawyers and the witnesses would have asked and
answered on direct examination. We did not object to the resort to these affidavits. We insisted,
though, that at least five witnesses from the three major groups of private complainants
represented by the private prosecutors should be allowed to testify under the traditional manner
of direct testimonies. We insisted on this to show the human aspect of how the witnesses coped
with the loss of their loved ones under the gruesome circumstances that claimed their lives. The
affidavits, because they are what they arealmost a reproduction of what the stenographic notes
would have looked like if they were allowed to testify on direct simply does not show the pain
and suffering that the victims have suffered.
An obvious advantage of the use of judicial affidavits is that it has facilitated the speedier
testimonies of the private complainants. In fact, of the 17 private complainants whom we
represent, only one has to take the stand. Another, Myrna Reblando, who has made public her
asylum bid in Hong Kong, still has to conclude with her testimony on the issue of damages.
Almost all of the private complainants have already testified. Unless I am mistaken, there are
now only less than 10 private complainants who still have to testify.

An obvious disadvantage though of the use of these affidavits is that it puts a lawyer who knows
what questions to ask on direct examination at a disadvantage. This is because the affidavits are a
Godsend to those who do not know what questions to ask. How? Since the questions are now in
written form, then all the questions should begin with what, where, when and how. This will do
away with objections on the basis that a question is leading.
There are other disadvantages to the use of these affidavits. For instance, it will diminish the
power of the judge to assess the credibility of witnesses. Normally, a Judge will either believe or
ignore the weight of a testimony depending on the demeanor of the witness primarily on direct
examination. This will now be played down. Further, as was our experience in the Maguindanao
massacre, these affidavits will minimize the outburst of emotion on the part of witnesses. This
may impact on the amount of moral and exemplary damages that a private complainant may
recover in a criminal case. Moral damages are awarded for the sorrow, fright and sleepless nights
suffered by complainants; exemplary damages are those awarded to show others, by way of
example, that similar conduct will not be countenanced by our Courts.
Despite these setbacks, I think the rule on the use of judicial affidavits will result in faster
testimonies which will hopefully will reduce the average life of a case pending before our courts.
A World Bank study concluded that each case takes around five years to be resolved by the
Regional Trial Court and longer, seven years, in the Sandiganbayan.
While this was the first reform announced by the new chief justice. Credit for the innovation
should also go to Senior Justice Antonio Carpio who headed the Committee on the Revision of
the Rules of Court that recommended this. Credit should also go to the many individuals who
worked with the American Bar Association Rule of Law initiative headed by Scott Ciment that
pioneered in the use of these affidavits in a pilot program currently being conducted in the
regional trial courts of Quezon City.
While the innovation itself is a reason to congratulate the Court, the manner by which it was
announced -by my classmate, Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva- is also reason to
rejoice for those who know Raul. For while the Midas touch is gone, the light has finally arrived.
Kudos to the Supreme Court for this reform and to the new Court Communicator for judicial
reforms! Go UP Law 1990!